Asian Shares Buoyant after NFP Report

Stocks in Asia advanced, though volumes were subdued, after U.S. labour market figures lifted optimism on global growth, propelling Wall Street to fresh record highs. The dollar declined.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average reclaimed a 26-year high as Tokyo shares closed firmer after fluctuating early in the session. Stocks also gained in Hong Kong and China. Volumes were at least 25 percent below their 30-day average on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average and the Kospi index. Data showed hiring increased by more than forecast in November and the unemployment rate held at a 17-year low, paving the way for another U.S. interest-rate increase this week. The S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at all-time highs on Friday.

The dollar trimmed some of last week’s gains before the Fed’s meeting at which it’s widely expected to lift rates. Bitcoin futures began trading in Chicago and at one point jumped as much as 25 percent. The kiwi dollar climbed as expectations of a dovish approach to monetary policy were scaled back with the appointment of Adrian Orr as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s new governor. The Philippine peso advanced after Fitch Ratings upgraded the nation’s long-term foreign-currency rating.

Investor optimism was already bouncing back after the U.S. government averted a shutdown and tax reform negotiations made progress. President Donald Trump prepares to give a closing argument for the proposed tax reform on Wednesday. With global equities trading near record highs, many money managers earlier this month were booking profits prior to the end of the year amid an equity rotation and waning risk sentiment. While traders see an interest-rate increase by the Fed this week as pretty much a done deal, there remains a furious debate about the pace of hikes next year.

Trading in bitcoin futures started on the Cboe Global Markets, the first major U.S. exchange to offer a product pegged to the cryptocurrency, and triggered two trading halts aimed at cooling volatility. Bitcoin has soared more than 1,500 percent this year.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

· The Topix index rose 0.5 percent to the highest in a month at the close in Tokyo and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.6 percent to the strongest since January 1992.

· Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added less than 0.1 percent at the close. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.2 percent.

· Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.9 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.7 percent. The ChiNext Index, a gauge of Chinese small-cap shares, was up 1.2 percent.

· Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent. The underlying gauge gained 0.6 percent on Friday.

· The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.6 percent.

Currencies

· The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent. It ended last week up 1.1 percent.

· The yen lost less than 0.1 percent to 113.57 per dollar, near the lowest in more than three weeks.

· The euro traded at $1.1783, up 0.1 percent.

· The kiwi jumped 0.8 percent to 69.04 U.S. cents.

· The Philippine peso climbed 0.3 percent to 50.33 per dollar.

· Bitcoin rose 6.2 percent to $16,611, after earlier falling as much as 7.1 percent.

Bonds

· The yield on 10-year Treasuries was steady at 2.38 percent.

· Australia’s 10-year yield rose almost three basis points to 2.56 percent.

Commodities

· West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.2 percent to $57.23 a barrel.

Gold was steady at $1,249.49 an ounce.

Source: Bloomberg

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